Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled on Thursday the national aspirations and priorities for research, development and innovation in the Kingdom for the next two decades.
Those are based on four main priorities, namely human health, environmental sustainability and basic needs, leadership in energy and industry, and future economies.
According to the Crown Prince, the priorities seek to enhance the Kingdom’s global competitiveness and leadership within Saudi Vision 2030.
“We have adopted ambitious aspirations for the research, development and innovation sector, so that the Kingdom will become one of the pioneers of innovation in the world,” he said.
“The annual spending on the sector will reach 2.5 percent of GDP in 2040, so that the sector contributes to the development and diversification of the national economy by adding SR60 billion to the GDP in 2040, and creating thousands of quality jobs in science, technology and innovation.”
Research and development
The research, development and innovation sector has been restructured, with the establishment of a higher committee headed by the Crown Prince to oversee the sector and define national priorities, as well as to launch the Research, Development and Innovation Development Authority that will act as an enabler, legislator and regulator for the sector.
Attracting national and international talent
In order to achieve these ambitions, Saudi Arabia will work to attract the best national and international talents, in addition to strengthening cooperation with the largest research centers, international companies, the non-profit sector and the private sector, which are an essential partner to lead research and development and increase investment in the sector.
Based on the Kingdom’s advanced infrastructure for scientific medical research and other competitive advantages, human health came at the top of the national priorities. Saudi Arabia aims to achieve a better and longer healthy life for its citizens and residents, by seeking to overcome health challenges, finding radical solutions for chronic and non-communicable diseases, providing the highest standards of health care for members of society, and supplying the world with the latest pharmaceutical technologies based on biotechnology.
Production of desalinated water
In order to contribute to eliminating the challenges of water shortage and food security in the world, and based on Saudi Arabia’s leadership in the production of desalinated water globally, and its major initiatives to preserve the environment, the Kingdom seeks to become a global model in providing the basic needs of water, food and energy in a sustainable manner, by developing environmentally friendly technologies, increasing green spaces and promoting carbon capture, use and storage, as well as sustainable technologies for low-cost electricity production.
Leadership in energy and industry
Saudi Arabia enjoys natural wealth and competitive advantages in the energy and industry sectors. Through the priority of Leadership in Energy and Industry, the country aims to maintain its leadership in energy markets by innovating technologies for the production of alternative energy such as green hydrogen and solar and wind energy, as well as ensuring the sustainability of oil demand and developing the mining sector in a competitive and sustainable manner.
The Future Economics was chosen as one of the priorities for the research, development and innovation sector. This priority aims to promote innovation in digital technologies, develop the future of urban life and build smart, human-friendly cities that are free of carbon emissions, in addition to exploring the depths of the sea and building a global position for the Kingdom in space field.
The recent adoption of national aspirations and priorities is the basis for the development of the national strategy for the research, development and innovation sector, which will be revealed at a later stage. The Crown Prince’s announcement is also an attractive factor for interested researchers and entrepreneurs from within Saudi Arabia and around the world.